Power Laces: Auto-Lacing Sneakers On the Way

Coming soon to stores: self-lacing sneakers like the ones in Back to the Future Part II. Really.

Nike Power LacesBack to the Future Part II offered many predictions about what the year 2015 might look like…through the lens of 1989, the year it was made. Among the things we’re supposed to technically have by next year: hoverboards, rehydrated pizzas, and interpersonal communication via fax machines. And when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) first arrives in the year 2015 (just before he hits the ‘80s Café), he puts on a pair of sneakers and their automated laces tie themselves.

So most of that stuff probably isn’t going to happen, or at least not by 2015. Except for Marty McFly’s fantastic sneakers that tied themselves. Designers at Nike are currently hard at work on MAG High Tops, complete with “Power Laces.”

Back in 2011, Nike released 1,500 hundred pairs of Back to the Future Part II­ replica MAG High Tops, without Power Laces, to help benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research. The shoes earned over $6 million for the organization. (Currently, the average pair can resell for hundreds on eBay.) Now designer Tinker Hatfield says the company will be ready to roll out the real deal in 2015. Rumors about the MAG High Tops have been floating around since 2009, when Nike submitted paperwork for an “automatically lacing trainers” patent.

But while Nike can claim that it got the Power Laces done in time to make BTTF’s prophecy come true, it can’t boast that it created the world’s first self-tying shoe. San Francisco inventor Blake Bevin already did that in 2010, when she installed an “Arduino microcontroller” into a Converse sneaker. When she puts it on, a sensor activates two motors, which yank on the laces.

Now if only somebody would get started on those hoverboards. Oh, wait, they have!